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When President Barack Obama was Senator Barack Obama, he famously thought that raising the debt ceiling was a terrible idea. Back in 2006, as Katrina Trinko points out over at National Review, he ranted, “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.” He voted against raising the debt ceiling.
Then, peculiarly, he disappeared during his presidential election campaign when it came to voting on raising the debt ceiling. In both 2007 and 2008, when we raised the debt ceiling by a combined $1.65 trillion, Obama avoided voting. Such absence wasn’t uncommon for Obama, who spent the vast majority of his only partial term in the Senate away from the Senate or ignoring his duty to vote. From September to November 2007, for example, Obama missed 80 percent of Senate votes, including one that would have designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Overall, Obama missed nearly 50 percent of the votes in the Senate during his tenure. As a State Senator in Illinois, he voted “present” a full 129 times, many of those votes coming on critical and controversial issues.
Now, Obama wants to vote present again. So far, he’s done this by pretending to present a debt relief plan without actually doing so. This led to a weird press conference with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney trying to maintain that Obama had spelled out a specific debt ceiling plan, but that he didn’t need to give details of those specifics. He insisted that Obama had a plan, but that he didn’t need to make it public because … well, Fox would like that, wouldn’t they? Carney almost literally tried to pee on the press corps and inform them blithely that it was raining.
When Obama isn’t sending out Carney to do his dirty work, he’s doing it himself. Obama, who appears to abide by the monkeys-writing-Shakespeare theory of politics – if he says enough nonsense, eventually something will resonate with the American people – delivered a national address lecturing Republicans about debt levels, which is sort of like Amy Winehouse calling a press conference to bash Lindsay Lohan for her drug and alcohol problems.
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